Binnie Beef to feature on Ch10’s Farm to Fork menu
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Binnie Beef to feature on Ch10’s Farm to Fork menu

Category Client Stories

Farm to Fork host Louis Tikaram with Binnie Beef’s Liz Binnie
Farm to Fork host Louis Tikaram with Binnie Beef’s Liz Binnie.

It was a humble Sunday roast that proved Liz Binnie’s lightbulb moment. 

The introduction of a Wagyu cut into the Binnie family’s weekly tradition sparked extra enthusiastic carving – quickly followed by the shock realisation that there was nothing left for the weekly cold meat sandwiches. 

“There was something in it,” Liz Binnie laughs. “That had never happened before with any cut of meat, it was just so delicious we couldn’t help ourselves!”  

Together with husband Steve and children Adelaide, 16, Campbell, 14, Wilbur, 12 and Ben 9, the Binnie family runs Binnie Beef, a Wagyu stud cattle breeding and direct to restaurant/wholesaler beef enterprise. 

After almost a century of Hereford breeding on the historic Mirannie Station, in NSW’s Hunter Valley,  Steve and Liz made the decision to diversify into Wagyu 13 years ago – reflective of the Binnie family’s entrepreneurial vision.

 “Steve’s family have been here since 1898, having arrived from Scotland,” Liz explains. “His great grandfather had a saddlery in Pitt Street and was on the board of NSW Bank, CSR Sugar and NRMA, originally buying the Mirannie property as a hobby farm.”

From dairy cattle to draft horses, the farm has entertained a diversity of enterprises since, with each generation leaving its mark.

“It’s probably not your typical family farm, each of the generations were quite academic and entrepreneurial, each evolving with the times and bringing something new to the enterprise.”

Steve and Liz are no exception, taking over the family farm’s legacy in 2003, the couple continued breeding Herefords for ten years. It was a labour of learning, companionship and love for their predecessors' vision, but eventually they had to admit, the “numbers weren’t stacking up”.

Recognising the growing global appetite for Wagyu, particularly from the Asian food bowl, and of course their own first-hand eating experience – the couple diversified out of 97 years in Herefords and into Wagyu and established Binnie Beef.    

Continuing the Family Legacy of Growth, Renewal and Diversification

After years of research, and procurement of the world’s most elite marbling genetics, in 2016 Steve and Liz established Delta Wagyu Genetics, infusing all existing commercial stock with fullblood wagyu genetics through an intensive ET program, and through sharing of intellectual property, and semen/embryo stock globally.

Today, much of the EU’s Wagyu herd is derived from the Binnie family’s genetics, with South Africa and South East Asia also keen customers. 

Moving away from a traditional cattle operation into a beef enterprise was very strategic. 

Binnie Beef on Ch10’s Farm to Fork Cooking Show

“We wanted to build security into the business, and remove the total reliance on weather and weekly cattle markets. Now we are exposed to three key vertical business influencers that are each inversely correlated, from paddock based farming – which we view as the overall engine room - to feed lotting and then processing .  

“Each of these verticals are still exposed to weather and market influx, however they tend to operate in opposition to one another, therefore building stability into the overall operation.”   

Liz said that internalising a feedlot was high on the wish list, yet conceded that internalising an abattoir was “not kids’s play”, and still part of the vision, but a long way down the track. 

“The numbers are large, and so too can be the losses – but we’re aiming high, and if you shoot for the stars you may land on the moon!”

Currently, the Binnies run 2,500 head on their property, north of Singleton, with an ongoing cycle of 400-500 head on feed, before then being processed at Casino on a monthly basis. 

The majority of their beef is exported into the Asian, Saudi Arabian and US markets, with 20 percent sold domestically, and their Delta Wagyu Genetics has claimed numerous global accolades, such as the International Wagyu Breeders World Champion Bull.

A growing appetite for Wagyu

The myriad of health benefits of Wagyu beef were another drawcard for the Binnies.

Wagyu is a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients, while it is also high in unsaturated (healthy) fats, including Omega 6 and 3 oils.

Dr Tim Crowe, a dietitian and lecturer at Deakin University, says the mono-unsaturated to saturated fats ratio is higher in Wagyu beef than any other beef breed. 

Recent research demonstrates that Wagyu has the potential to reduce heart disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, reduce body fat gain and increase immune response.

“With an average marble score of five to six, our wagyu is very satiating, so you generally only need half the serving as it’s so filling.”

Originating from Japan, where Wagyu marbling consistency is more white than red, and almost a dessert-like decadence, the Binnies and other Australian Wagyu farmers have really commercialised the paddock to plate process, and it's very different to Japanese cattle handling where Wagyu animals are typically raised in feedlot conditions, under weather protected sheds and nurtured in an individualised, hands on manner.

“While we Aussies are running far larger cattle numbers – a some far larger than ourselves –  I do think we’ve been able to achieve a beautiful sweet spot with our marble scores, and our taste, with customer feedback marvelling at the unique nutty, buttery and flavoursome intensity of the beef itself - even aside from the health and flavour benefits of the intramuscular marbling”.

Exceptional eating quality coupled with its nutritional value has catapulted Wagyu’s popularity over recent decades, making it a favourite with chefs globally – and the Binnies have been perfectly placed to benefit. 

In addition to exporting around the world, the Binnies sell directly to domestic restaurants and to the public through their flagship warehouse in Newcastle, and the appetite for Binnie Beef continues to grow. 

“We work hard to market our product, yet we’ve found one of our most valuable endorsements comes from typical ‘mum and dad’ consumers.” 

“The retail outlet has allowed Newcastle and Hunter Valley locals to eat world-class wagyu quality from the comforts of their own home, and consequently go on to recommend the product to their local restaurants, which has returned organic business that’s now reached a bit of a tipping point where chefs are starting to contact us directly,” Liz smiles. 

“The fact that consumers are increasingly excited by food provenance also plays into our farm’s unique proximity to Sydney and Newcastle – there’s a sentiment that we’re just over the hill, which chefs and consumers really love.”  

Steve and Liz are further nurturing restauranteurs' Wagyu appreciation, opening the property's historic stables for corporate presentations and insight into the Binnie Beef production practices. 

“Nothing familiarises yourself with a product like seeing it on farm, and we often invite chefs and their teams to the farm for a tour, as a team building exercise and a bit of an adventure that leaves them more comfortable to speak to the quality of Binnie Beef with genuine confidence.”

Farm to Fork showcases Binnie Beef nationally

The Binnies recently had the opportunity to further showcase their produce thanks to an ongoing partnership between Rabobank and Ch10’s Farm to Fork.

The cooking show, which airs nationally and globally, reaching 23 million viewers across the season aims to inspire consumers to not only cook at home but also have a better appreciation of where and how their food is grown by featuring Rabobank clients, sharing their stories on-farm. 

Binnie Beef on Ch10’s Farm to Fork Cooking Show

Liz said it was a fantastic opportunity to share their beef provenance story, and the passion and hard work that goes into producing wagyu beef.

It was also exciting to watch delicious recipes being created on farm for a genuine farm to fork experience.

“Farm to Fork host, Louis Tikaram is the Head Chef and Partner of Stanley restaurant in Brisbane and it’s always fun to see what the experts do with our beef – we’re certainly not culinary experts!” 

With Binnie Beef becoming a mainstay in households and restaurants across the globe, Liz concedes there have been plenty of challenges along the way.

“We launched our branded beef just as the market was tanking, then endured covid and drought – starting a beef business is not an easy thing to do, and we’ve learnt some hard lessons along the way.”

“At the end of the day, we’re not the biggest beef brand, but we’re working hard, continuing a proud family legacy and building a sustainable and stable future for our kids – and eating some terrific beef while were at it!”

Binnie Beef will feature on Farm to Fork on Friday, January 12 at 4pm, and Monday 15th at 8am with Louie cooking Wagyu Horseradish Bites. 

The show airs from November through to March on Monday to Thursday at 3:30pm and Friday at 4pm, and you can also catch up on epsides anytime on 10Play and Foxtel.